acetabula et calculi

Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Fri Aug 22 11:26:02 UTC 2014

"Calculus" is a pebble or small stone, such as one used in counting (hence
the English word) or as a piece in a game like checkers. It is a good choice
for this context. "Acetabula et calculi" is a legitimate translation of the
name of the magic trick. "Pila" is ball, such as that you play with, so
"acetabula et pilae" also works.

I don't know what's up with Google Translate. It handles the singular "ball"
okay. The nominative plural of pila is "pilae," of calculus is "calculi."

"Lapis" is either a rock, a milestone, or a precious stone, so it's probably
not the right choice for this context. "Lapides" would be the nominative

"Sphera" or "spherae" in the plural, is another option.

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of
Dave Hause
Sent: Friday, August 22, 2014 12:55 AM
Subject: Re: acetabula et calculi

Calculi comes straight into English through medicine - stones.  My
Latin-English dictionary says "pila" for a ball to play with, "lapis" for
one thrown by a ballista.
Dave Hause, dwhause at
Waynesville, MO
----- Original Message -----
From: "Bill Mullins" <amcombill at HOTMAIL.COM>
Sent: Thursday, August 21, 2014 8:37 PM
Subject: acetabula et calculi

Forgive an off-topic question=2C but I'm betting someone on the list knows =
more about this than I do.
"Acetabula et calculi" is generally taken=2C within the conjuring community=
=2C to be Latin for the classic routine "cups and balls" (from a reference =
in the writings of Seneca).  I don't speak/read/write Latin=2C but I believ=
e a more literal translation would be "cups and dice".
So I stick "cups and balls" into Google translate in hopes of finding out h=
ow to say "cups and balls" in Latin.  It spits out=20 "et cyathos balls".  I
stick "balls" into GT=2C and it gives "balls".  Goog= le Translate believes
that "balls" is Latin for "balls".
Surely this isn't correct.  What is the Latin word for "balls"?      =

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